7.1 Describe the potential risks presented by: the use of electronic communication devices, the use of the internet, the use of social networking sites, carrying out financial transactions online

Qualification: Level 2 Diploma in Care, Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care
Unit name: Safeguarding and Protection in Care Settings
Learning outcome: 7. Understand principles for online safety
Assessment criteria: 7.1 Describe the potential risks presented by: the use of electronic communication devices, the use of the internet, the use of social networking sites, carrying out financial transactions online

Online activity has become a staple of everyday life in the UK and has several benefits from keeping in touch with friends to accessing knowledge at the touch of a button.

However, there are also several risks associated with accessing the Internet that vulnerable individuals may be more susceptible to.

Electronic communication devices can include phones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. They facilitate communication via text messaging, Whatsapp, Email and chatrooms. Whilst being useful to connect with others, there are also risks of connecting with people that are not who they say they are. These people could try to extort money from others or trick them into handing over their bank details. There is also a risk of cyber-bullying as well as grooming for sexual exploitation or radicalisation. Mobile devices are at risk of being stolen for financial as well as identity theft.

Many of these risks are also present via the use of the Internet. It is also important to be aware that it is relatively easy for anyone to publish information on the Internet and it is not all factual or backed by evidence.

The use of social networks also has the risks of communicating with unscrupulous individuals as well as cyber-bullying.

Carrying out financial transactions online can be risky if a device has been hacked or is infected by a virus. This could allow others to obtain passwords and make unauthorised transactions. There are also risks from scams such as phishing attacks, where scammers will attempt to get individuals to disclose their passwords or type them into a fake website.